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Stephan, Wolfgang (2021): Rapid Evolutionary Adaptation in Response to Selection on Quantitative Traits. In: Life-Basel, Vol. 11, No. 8, 797

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Evolutionary adaptation after sudden environmental changes can occur very rapidly. The mechanisms facilitating rapid adaptation range from strong positive directional selection leading to large shifts in the allele frequencies at a few loci (selective sweeps) to polygenic selection causing small changes in allele frequencies at many loci. In addition, combinations of these two extreme mechanisms may also result in fast evolution. In recent years, following reports of new case studies of rapid adaptation, population genetic models have been proposed to explain these observations. In these models, the role of the major selective forces (positive directional and stabilizing selection) is highlighted as well as the genetic architecture of quantitative traits. Furthermore, the factors limiting the speed of adaptation are analyzed, in particular, the effects of random genetic drift and demography due to finite population size.

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